University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Political science and associate director of the UMass Poll Ray La Raja is quoted in a story about President Biden unveiling his $6.8 trillion budget proposal “He’s setting the table. Announcements of budgets are definitely about setting the campaign agenda,” La Raja says. “We already know from the State of the Union speech that he’s going to go after the Republicans for taking away Social Security, Medicare…he says this budget shores that up.” (The National DeskKATV [Little Rock, Ark.] MidMichiganNow, NBC 24 [Toledo, Ohio] 3/10/23)

Newly analyzed data from Human Security Lab at UMass Amherst shows significant and sustained support for women’s human rights as a top national priority in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan - even among men and women who strongly support the Taliban. (Read more)

Grigory has won a dissertation completion grant from the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research (NCEEER) for his dissertation entitled “Election Monitoring under Authoritarianism: The Case of Russia” which examines the goals, strategies and tactics of election monitoring groups in Russia.

Professor of Political Science with Programs in Legal Studies, Paul Collins comments about two cases now before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging President Joe Biden’s student debt relief plan. In Newsweek, he says, “I expect the Court will halt the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan down ideological lines, which will be a major blow to student loan borrowers trying to get out under mountains of debt.” In an interview on WGN Radio, he says, “The conservative justices in particular were pretty skeptical about the Biden administration’s authority to forgive student loans in this way.”  ( Newsweek, WGN Radio, 2/28/23)

Professor of Political Science and Director of the UMass Poll Tatishe Nteta comments in an article about the agenda set by new Massachusetts governor Maura Healey. Nteta says the early weeks of a new governor’s term “is where leaders step up and articulate their vision for the future of the state, and the question is, is she going to do that or is it just going to be reactive to the problems that we have been dealing with, whether that’s the MBTA or issues of housing, the overarching issues or transportation and economic issues. Is she going to be proactive and visionary? Or is she just going to be reactive and managerial?” (GBH, 2/22/23)

A research team from the Center for Justice, Law, and Societies won the inaugural UMass Public Interest Technology (PIT) Fellowship for their project, "What Counts Count? How Information about Racial Disparities Informs the Public’s Evaluations of District Attorneys." PI Kelsey Shoub (School of Public Policy), along with collaborators Jamie Rowen (Legal Studies and Political Science), Youngmin Yi (Sociology), and Cindy Xiong (CICS) will use the award for a series of survey experiments to examine whether and how the visual presentation of racial disparity data and selection of information to be presented affects trust in DAs, evaluations of the office, and confidence in making decisions about whom to charge and prosecute. The results of these studies will inform the Northwestern District Attorney’s (NWDA), our local district attorney that we have partnered with for this broader project, plans to develop a public-facing data dashboard.

Ray La Raja, Political Science and Co-Director of the UMass Amherst Poll, was interviewed for a local news report highlighting local experts’ analysis of President Biden’s State of the Union Address. La Raja was not involved in the survey, said, “Of course people aren’t excited because [Biden’s] not an exciting candidate. People just aren’t paying attention that much, and they’re still sticking to their priors.” (, 2/10/23; WWLP-TV 22, 2/8/23)

Provost Professor of Political Science and Director of the UMass Amherst Poll Tatishe Nteta is quoted in a story examining the state of Massachusetts’ Republican party under the leadership of new party chair Amy Carnevale.  “There is no candidate on the horizon that will compete for two of the [U.S.] Senate positions that are currently held by individuals over the age of 70 years old. I think this is the bottom, as it pertains to the party in the state,” Nteta says, adding that, “The thing we know about American politics is, just when you think a party is down and out, they can surprise you,” Nteta said. “That happens historically at the national level, and I think it potentially could happen here at the state level. But it’s going to need effective leadership and a vision and hard work to achieve the overarching goal.” (GBH, 2/1/23)


Lauren McCarthy, Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science and Director of Legal Studies, has been awarded the Mid-career Post-tenure Fellowship for the 2023-24 academic year. The fellowship provides a research-intensive semester to associate professors whose service and teaching responsibilities have exceeded the norm. Award recipients will be provided with one semester of release from teaching responsibilities, department obligations, and college service. (UMass News Office, 02/01/2023)

There is additional coverage on a recent UMass Amherst poll finding that 6 in 10 respondents support setting an upper age limit for the U.S. president. Professors of political science and co-directors of UMass Poll Jesse Rhodes and Ray La Raja are quoted in the article. (, 1/20/23;  News Office release